Deep brain stimulation could allow patients to stop using medications to treat their essential tremors within a year after surgery, a study carried out at the University of South Florida, US, has found.

The study analysed 31 patients who underwent unilateral deep brain stimulation surgery for essential tremor from 2000 to 2010.

The study results showed that 13 of the 31 patients who were taking anti-tremor medications at the time of their deep brain stimulation gained effective control of their tremor following the procedure.

The symptom improvement was so good that ten patients in the group (77%) stopped the anti-tremor medications within one year of surgery.

The remaining three patients (23%) continued to take propranolol, an antihypertensive as well as an anti-tremor drug, only to control the blood pressure.

The researchers noted that future research should include larger, long-term studies investigating how long the tremor control effects of deep brain stimulation last.

Deep brain stimulation uses an implanted device to stimulate a targeted region of the brain with electrical impulses, blocking or correcting the abnormal nerve signals that cause the tremors.